A province-wide crisis that has left 308 people dead due to illicit drug overdoses in five months is taking a devastating toll in the Mid-Island region,
“We’ve actually been hit a little harder than the province,” said Mid-Island Medical Health Officer Dr. Paul Hasselback in an interview with the Chronicle Friday, June 10.
So far in 2016 the Mid-Island region has exceeded the total number of deaths it recorded for all of 2015, he noted. “That’s in five months. We’ve certainly been involved in trying to deal with this.”
The deaths are attributed to a change in the types of drugs available on the street, he said. The most commonly cited drug additive is fentanyl, which is addictive and produces a more intense ‘high’ than other drugs.
“People who are using the fentanyl are seeking it,” Hasselback said. “They are not avoiding it.”
He also said dealers may be cutting other drugs with fentanyl because of its addictive properties. “It may entice people to require more drugs,” he said.
Hasselback says the conversation about drug abuse has to be more open, and has to start at an earlier age. As well, better services – including supervised drug use sites – are needed.
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